Sunday, February 10, 2013
The New York Times - Opinionator: Malawi's Leader Makes Safe Childbirth Her Mission, by Courtney E. Martin:
Malawi is a country of rolling hills and marshy flatlands, where 85 percent of the population live in the countryside, most subsisting on less than $2 per person per day, typically from corn and tobacco farming. It is also a country with extremely high maternal mortality. In the U.S., 1 in 2,400 women are at risk of dying while giving birth over the course of their lives; in Malawi, it is 1 out of 36. If the country’s new president, Joyce Banda, has her way, that will soon change. . . .
Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Feminist Majority Foundation: Family Medical Leave Act Turns 20:
Today marks the twentieth anniversary of the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which grants job-protected sick leave to those who are recovering or taking care of someone recovering from an illness or those who have had a new child. . . .
WNYC - The Brian Lehrer Show: Teen Pregnancy Down
NYC Health Commissioner Thomas Farley talks about why the city’s teen pregnancy rate has been on the decline over the past decade, and why the Bronx still has the highest rate in the country. . . .
Like the CDC data on sex among Latino/a youth, New York City's experience seems to contradict claims that providing teens with contraception will lead to increased sex, since the decline in pregnancy is attributable both to decreased rates of teen sex and increased use of contraception by sexually active teens.
Friday, February 1, 2013
Law Students for Reproductive Justice and the Center for Reproductive Rights:
Law Students for Reproductive Justice (LSRJ) and the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR) invite submissions for the eighth annual Sarah Weddington Writing Prize for New Student Scholarship in Reproductive Rights.
The 1st place winning submission will have a presumption of publishability and will receive expedited review by New York University School of Law’s Review of Law and Social Change. Winning authors will also receive cash prizes: $750 (1st place), $500 (2nd place), or $250 (3rd place).
This year’s theme: “Economic (In)Justice of Reproductive Regulation”
LSRJ & CRR seek student scholarship exploring the economic justice implications of laws and regulations that affect reproductive health and rights in the U.S. Papers may explore a range of issues, such as: tensions between affirmative state obligations and individual rights; consequences of health insurance regulation and the needs of individuals seeking preventative and/or “elective” reproductive care (e.g. should reproductive technologies and contraception be covered, and if so, how?); the impact of state support for specific practices (e.g. breastfeeding, vaccinations, birthing options) on the ability of women and families to make decisions about their care; and the role of the state in health care regulation and funding (e.g. how will Medicaid expansion affect reproductive health access? Who is most benefitted and/or who is left out of the Affordable Care Act?). These ideas are examples of topics that would fit the theme; however, many more issues could be fruitfully explored through the lens of economic justice.
Papers should have a domestic focus, but may draw on international and comparative materials. Authors are asked to apply a reproductive justice lens and/or human rights framework to their analyses of the issues. We encourage writing that amplifies lesser heard voices, applies an intersectional approach to legal thinking, suggests innovative solutions, and/or takes into account the practical realities and the lived experiences of the people affected.
Papers must be at least 20 pages in length (not including footnotes), double-spaced in 12-point font with footnotes in 10-point font, conforming to Bluebook citation format. Only original scholarship by current law students or 2012 graduates will be accepted. Papers being considered for publication elsewhere are ineligible for the first place prize but will be considered for second and third place. Papers already contracted for publication as of March 2013 will not be accepted. Winners will be selected by an outside panel of legal and academic judges.
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Lynn M. Paltrow (National Advocates for Pregnant Women) & Jeanne Flavin (Fordham University) have published Arrests of and Forced Interventions on Pregnant Women in the United States, 1973-2005: Implications for Women's Legal Status and Public Health in the Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law. Here is the abstract:
In November 2011, the citizens of Mississippi voted down Proposition 26, a “personhood” measure that sought to establish separate constitutional rights for fertilized eggs, embryos, and fetuses. This proposition raised the question of whether such measures could be used as the basis for depriving pregnant women of their liberty through arrests or forced medical interventions. Over the past four decades, descriptions of selected subsets of arrests and forced interventions on pregnant women have been published. Such cases, however, have never been systematically identified and documented, nor has the basis for their deprivations of liberty been comprehensively examined. In this article we report on 413 cases from 1973 to 2005 in which a woman’s pregnancy was a necessary factor leading to attempted and actual deprivations of a woman’s physical liberty. First, we describe key characteristics of the women and the cases, including socioeconomic status and race. Second, we investigate the legal claims made to justify the arrests, detentions, and forced interventions.
Third, we explore the role played by health care providers. We conclude by discussing the implications of our findings and the likely impact of personhood measures on pregnant women’s liberty and on maternal, fetal, and child health.
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Lorana Bartels (University of Canberra – School of Law and Justice) has posted Safe Haven Laws, Baby Hatches and Anonymous Hospital Birth: Examining Infant Abandonment, Neonaticide and Infanticide in Australia on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
This article considers international responses to infant abandonment, neonaticide and infanticide in the context of the recent conviction of Keli Lane for the murder of her newborn daughter and the Children’s Protection (Lawful Surrender of Newborn Child) Amendment Bill 2011 (SA). The article considers three responses currently in operation internationally: safe haven laws, baby hatches, and anonymous birth. Arguments about these models, including effectiveness, whether they target the “wrong” women, and the rights of children to know their genetic origins, are examined.
Sunday, January 6, 2013
Guttmacher Institute: Laws Affecting Reproductive Health and Rights: 2012 State Policy Review:
Reproductive health and rights was once again the subject of extensive debate in state capitols in 2012. Over the course of the year, 42 states and the District of Columbia enacted 122 provisions related to reproductive health and rights. One-third of these new provisions, 43 in 19 states, sought to restrict access to abortion services. Although this is a sharp decrease from the record-breaking 92 abortion restrictions enacted in 2011, it is the second highest annual number of new abortion restrictions. . . .
January 6, 2013 in Abortion, Contraception, Fetal Rights, Mandatory Delay/Biased Information Laws, Pregnancy & Childbirth, Scholarship and Research, Sexuality Education, Sexually Transmitted Disease, State Legislatures, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP), Teenagers and Children | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
The New York Times: Pregnancy Centers Gain Influence in Anti-Abortion Arena, by Pam Belluck:
WACO, Tex. — With free pregnancy tests and ultrasounds, along with diapers, parenting classes and even temporary housing, pregnancy centers are playing an increasingly influential role in the anti-abortion movement. While most attention has focused on scores of new state laws restricting abortion, the centers have been growing in numbers and gaining state financing and support. . . .
Monday, December 10, 2012
Kristine S. Knaplund (Pepperdine University School of Law) has posted What's Blood Got To Do With It? Determining Parentage for ART Children Born Overseas on SSRN. Here is the absract:
States has long followed the English common law view that citizenship can be
attained at birth in two ways: by being born in the U.S. (jus soli), or by
being born abroad as the child of a U.S. citizen (jus sanguinis). The first,
jus soli, is now part of the 14th amendment to the U.S. Constitution: “All
persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the
jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and the state wherein
they reside.” Jus soli theoretically does not inquire into the citizenship of
the child’s parents; the relevant fact is that the birth takes place in the
United States. Jus sanguinis, in contrast, arises from the parent-child relationship.
The State Department translates jus sanguinis as “from the bloodline,” citing
it as the “traditional Roman law principle.” By “natural parent,” the State
Department means a blood relationship with a U.S. citizen: “It is not enough
that the child is presumed to be the issue of the parents’ marriage by the laws
of the jurisdiction where the child was born.”
A purely genetic connection to the child is sufficient to establish parentage in relatively few instances in American law. One is child support: even if the genetic father has had no contact with the child, and has done nothing to establish a relationship (or even been prevented from knowing about the child), the genetic connection may be enough if no other presumed father is on the scene. This article explores a second instance in which the genetic connection is paramount: when an American citizen gives birth abroad. A genetic test works well for children conceived coitally, but may wreak havoc for those conceived using assisted reproduction techniques (ART). Citizenship has recently been denied to the children of two American women who used anonymously donated gametes to conceive and give birth to a child: one in Israel, and one in Switzerland; in a third case, the U.S. Embassy refused to recognize the birth mother as the child’s mother because she had used donated eggs and given birth to the child in India.
Part I of this Article discusses the origins of jus sanguinis in Roman and English common law, including ancient and medieval views of conception and maternity in determining the child's bloodline. Not surprisingly, these views differ significantly from those held today. Taking into account this scientific background, Part II examines citizenship laws in early U.S. history, and assumptions of who were the parents of a child, both in wedlock and out of wedlock. While the definition of paternity has always taken note of biology as well as a man’s relationship to the birth mother, science began to play a more prominent role in the legal definition of parenthood once blood grouping and blood tests were available in the early 1900s. Part III then introduces the law of U.S. citizenship today, which in its main outlines is the same as first codified in 1952. The ability of DNA testing to positively identify the father in most cases, plus advances in ART that separate the two functions of the birth mother – genetics and gestation – have greatly complicated the definition of parentage for children, but the State Department has, in large part, continued to use the same parentage standard first detailed in 1952. Part IV examines and critiques three methods of identifying parentage: the State Department’s preferred method (genetics), the common law parturient test, and the recently developed intent test, to examine which method of determining parentage should be used for children born abroad. Part V concludes the article.
Sarthak Garg & Keshav Gaur (both of Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law) have posted Reproduction Rights of Women: Ethical or Viable Role of Surrogate Mother on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
Reproductive behavior is governed by complex biological, cultural and psychological relations, hence reproductive health and rights must be understood within the context of relationships between men and women, communities and societies. This research encompasses with these problems which concerned about the reproductive health and rights of the women. It furthermore explains the vulnerability of women and gender biased violence against them. This paper also laid stress on the impact of men’s action over the reproductive health and rights of the women and the key initiatives to deliver reproductive rights and services to the women. Though, this paper also focuses on the rights of the surrogates’ mother and the initiatives taken by the government for the enhancement of the surrogacy and their rights in India. In this research we conceptualize the incidents related to the surrogacy and the legal issues in the global scenario. However, we also gestate the landscape of surrogacy in India, as it is new concept for India and not acceptable as well on various portfolios so we also laid focus on the social and economic background for the profound this concept in the grass root level. While construing this research we also analysis the Artificial Reproductive Technology (ART) bill, in that we critically analysis it’s positive and negative aspects for the concept of surrogacy in India. Eventually, this research also laid impact over the commissioning parents and their rights regarding surrogacy. In the conclusion our research concludes procreating a child in surrogate woman’ womb is grateful gift to those mothers who cannot conceive child.
Wednesday, December 5, 2012
Pamela Cox (University of Essex) has posted Marginalized Mothers, Reproductive Autonomy, and 'Repeat Losses to Care' on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
Over 70,000 children are ‘looked after’ by local authorities in England and Wales. Emerging research suggests that a significant proportion of their birth parents have either already lost a child to permanent adoption or will go on to lose others. These ‘repeat loss’ cases raise difficult questions about marginalized mothers and their reproductive autonomy. This article considers past and present tactics used by the state in its attempts to limit that autonomy, including institutionalization, sterilization, long‐acting contraception, and permanent adoption. It argues that the gradual democratization of intimate citizenship over the past century, defined as a person's ability to choose and direct their intimate relationships, has obliged the contemporary state to develop new tactics which aim to build personal capacity and to balance enhanced child protection with enhanced reproductive autonomy.
Sunday, December 2, 2012
The Pew Research Center: U.S. Birth Rate Falls to a Record Low; Decline Is Greatest Among Immigrants:
The U.S. birth rate dipped in 2011 to the lowest ever recorded, led by a plunge in births to immigrant women since the onset of the Great Recession. . . .
The New Republic: Pro-Life Activists Conveniently Ignore the Abortion Drop, by Amy Sullivan:
Abortion isn’t generally a subject that inspires many hip-hip-hoorays, but a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has some encouraging news: the U.S. abortion rate fell 5 percent in 2009, the largest single-year drop in a decade. . . .
Thursday, November 29, 2012
Reuters: China considers easing family planning rules, by Michael Martina:
China is considering changes to its one-child policy, a former family planning official said, with government advisory bodies drafting proposals in the face of a rapidly ageing society in the world's most populous nation. . . .
Michigan Legislature Considers Measure to Allow Fetuses to be Claimed as Dependents for Tax Purposes
Feminist Majority Foundation - Feminist Daily News: Michigan Considering Fetus to Qualify as a Dependent:
Lawmakers in Michigan are considering allowing fetuses that are at least 12 weeks in gestation to qualify as a dependent under the state's tax law. Two House Bills, HB 5684 and HB 5685, have been proposed in the Michigan House Tax Policy committee and were debated last week. The measures were originally scheduled to be discussed further today, however several committee members are not ready to vote on them, according toMLive. . . .
Saturday, November 10, 2012
Jaime Staples King (Hastings College of the Law) has published Not This Child: Constitutional Questions in Regulating Non-Invasive Prenatal Genetic Diagnosis and Selective Abortion in the UCLA Law Review. Here is the abstract:
Recent developments in abortion politics and prenatal genetic testing are currently on a collision course that has the potential to change the way we think about reproduction and reproductive rights. In the fall of 2011, the first noninvasive prenatal genetic test for Down syndrome entered the commercial market, offering highly accurate prenatal genetic tests from a sample of a pregnant woman’s blood without posing a risk to the fetus or the mother. In the last five years, over fifty biotechnology start-ups have been created to offer noninvasive prenatal diagnosis (NIPD) for an ever-widening range of genetic and chromosomal conditions. Because of its noninvasive nature, relatively low cost, and early timing, NIPD has the potential to become standard prenatal care for all pregnant women, providing them information on hundreds of genetic and chromosomal characteristics of their prospective offspring soon after they discover the pregnancy. Moreover, the technological development of NIPD has occurred alongside a significant political development: A handful of states have passed or attempted to pass legislation that restricts abortion based on the reasons for which it was sought. These laws have mainly prohibited abortions sought for sex- or race-based reasons, but proposed legislation would also restrict abortions sought for a wider range of genetic conditions.
The collision of these political and technological developments raises two questions regarding reproductive autonomy: (1) whether the Fourteenth Amendment protects a woman’s right to abort a fetus for any reason; and (2) whether that protection includes the right to access genetic tests that could inform the abortion decision. This Article argues for the reaffirmation of a woman’s right to choose to abort for any reason and grounds that right in strong principles of liberty and autonomy, rather than sex equality. In the context of reproductive genetic testing, the Article identifies a legitimate state interest, previously unrecognized in abortion jurisprudence, in avoiding significant harm to society based on widespread discriminatory selective abortion. The Article then proposes a new framework for examining the regulation of reproductive genetic testing that balances the relevant state and individual interests in a novel manner.
Thursday, November 1, 2012
Monday November 5, 12:15 p.m. MST
(2:15 p.m. EST, 11:15 a.m. PST)
Michele Bratcher Goodwin, the 47th Annual Leary Lecturer, is the Everett Fraser Professor in Law at the University of Minnesota. She holds joint appointments at the University of Minnesota Medical School and the University of Minnesota School of Public Health.
Women's reproduction dominates recent political platforms and debates. However, relatively little attention has focused on the criminal policing targeted at pregnant women across America. Since the late 1980s, state legislatures have enacted punitive feticide laws that ostensibly apply to a broad range of activities, including falling down steps, suffering drug addiction, refusing cesarean sections, and attempting suicide. Legislators and prosecutors from both political parties have decided that a very strong "stick" should be used against pregnant women. Indeed, despite the fact that early feticide laws were intended to protect women from third party harms to their pregnancies, such as domestic violence, because women are more likely to be the targets of domestic violence during their pregnancies, now fetal protection laws—in 38 states—lead to unreasonable arrests and senseless convictions of pregnant women. The scope of the problem is difficult to measure. Yet, what is clear from the legal cases and news reports is that most of the victims are poor and many are women of color. In this year’s Leary Lecture, Professor Goodwin examines the expanded use of criminal laws and civil commitments to shape new reproductive health norms. Watch Live Online >>.
Free and open to the public. No registration required. One hour CLE.
Call 801-585-3479 or visit law.utah.edu.
November 1, 2012 in Fetal Rights, Law School, Lectures and Workshops, Politics, Poverty, Pregnancy & Childbirth, Race & Reproduction, Scholarship and Research, Women, General | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Reuters: Serious birth complications rising in the U.S., by Amy Norton:
Between 1998 and 2009, the rate of serious complications like heart attack, stroke, severe bleeding and kidney failure during or after childbirth roughly doubled among U.S. women, according to researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). . . .
Monday, October 15, 2012
Rakhal Gaitonde (Society for Community Health Awareness, Research and Action) has posted Registration and Monitoring of Pregnant Women in Tamil Nadu, India: A Critique on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
In 2008 a pregnancy registration system was introduced in rural Tamil Nadu, India, which is now being scaled up. It will collect data on antenatal, delivery and post-partum care in pregnant women and infant health. This is seen as an important public health intervention, justified for its potential to ensure efficiency in provision and use of maternity services. However, from another perspective, it can be seen as a form of control over women, reducing the experience of safe pregnancy and delivery to a few measurable variables. The burden of implementing this task falls on Village Health Nurses, who are also women, reducing their time for interacting with and educating people and visiting communities, which is their primary task and the basis on which they are evaluated. In addition, they face logistical constraints in rural settings that may affect the quality of data. In a health system with rigid internal hierarchies and power differentials, this system may become more of a supervisory and monitoring tool than a tool for a learning health system. It may also lead to a victim-blaming approach (“you missed two antenatal visits”) rather than health system learning to improve maternal and infant health. The paper concludes by recommending ways to use the system and the data to tackle the broader social determinants of health, with women, health workers and communities as partners in the process.
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Guttmacher Institute – press release: Survey of Countries with Liberal Abortion Laws Finds Abortions Concentrated Among Women in their 20s, by Jessica Malter:
Decline in American Teen Abortion Rate Puts United States on Par With Some Industrialized Counterparts, but More Progress Is Needed
A new study of countries with liberal abortion laws finds that abortion is more common among women in their 20s than among women of other ages, according to "Legal Abortion Levels and Trends by Woman’s Age at Termination," by Gilda Sedgh et al. of the Guttmacher Institute. A large body of research has shown that this group often wants to postpone childbearing, which would interrupt their ability to work or complete their schooling; in addition, many young adult women have yet to establish stable partner relationships. The current study found that recent declines in the teen abortion rate in the United States (now at 20 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15–19) have put the United States on par for the first time with several other industrialized countries, including England and Wales, Scotland, Sweden and New Zealand. This marks a considerable change from the mid-1990s, when the U.S. teen abortion rate was substantially higher than that of any other industrialized nation. . . .
Monday, October 8, 2012
NBCnews.com: Philippines takes on Catholic church to push birth control, sex education, by Karen Lema:
MANILA, Philippines -- Philippine President Benigno Aquino is squaring off against his country's powerful Catholic church in a bid to give people free access to the means to limit the size of their families.
The predominately Catholic country has one of Asia's fastest-growing populations together with significant levels of chronic poverty. While neighbors have accelerated towards prosperity, the Philippines has lagged.
Economists say high population growth is a primary factor for that, but the church disagrees. It says population growth is not a cause of poverty and that people need jobs, not contraception. . . .
October 8, 2012 in Abortion, Contraception, International, Poverty, Pregnancy & Childbirth, Religion and Reproductive Rights, Reproductive Health & Safety, Sexuality Education | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)